Saturday, July 17, 2010

Flipped - Wendelin Van Draanen

Summary:  The first time she saw him, she flipped.  The first time he saw her, he ran.

And from the second grade to the seventh, that's how it was.  She says: "My Bryce.   Still walking around with my first kiss."  He says: "It's been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort."

But in the eighth grade, their views of the world--and each other--turn upside down.  He says: "I'd spent so many years avoiding Juli Baker that I'd never really looked at her, but now I couldn't stop."  And she says: "I felt a cold, hard knot tighten in my heart.  I was through with Bryce Loski."

Is there hope for happiness in junior high?

Have you flipped?
(Image from http://www.refineme.org/ and summary from back of the book.)

My Review:  Simple, formulaic, but also with rich themes and different ideas made this book a comforting and fast read.  It's a book I'd recommend to younger YA readers or those who need books that build confidence in reading.  It doesn't have much depth to the writing and even some of the characters lack the depth needed to make them seem real.  That said, the changing perspectives each chapter gives it some spice--Bryce gives his side for a chapter and then it switches to Juli and her perspective.  Sometimes it's about the same event; sometimes it's not. It really helps paint a picture for younger readers how two people can see the same event so differently.

My favorite aspect to the book was the emphasis on the worth of the individual, what really matters in life and about a person.  Van Draanen does a good job painting a nasty picture of people who value things and a perfect image as the most important.  And while I agree with this point, my only complaint is this isn't an accurate depiction of a real person--no one is so 2-dimensional as these characters are drawn.  There are always aspects to people that are of value.  That said, it is a YA book.  We're building readers with these books and you have to start somewhere and we really shouldn't start by confusing them with contradictions and complexity.  That why for a YA book I gave it the rating I did.

Rating: 4 stars  (For an adult reader it's more like a 3 star book.  Very basic and somewhat predictable.)

Sum it up: Junior high perspectives and learning what really matters.

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